Can You Lose Your Salvation? Calvinism vs. Arminianism Explained

By Julie Roys

Can a believer lose his salvation?  This question has plagued Christians for centuries and even spawned two distinctly different theological camps — Calvinism and Arminianism. I’ve found that most people seem to embrace a blend of the two perspectives, whether they recognize it or not. For example, George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilization, was fond of saying, “I’m a Calvinist with a mean streak of Arminianism!” Similarly, I once heard Bill Hybels, founder of Willow Creek Community Church, say he worships like a Calvinist and evangelizes like an Arminian. In other words, when he worships, he does so with the gratitude that comes from understanding that God sovereignly chose to save him. Yet, when evangelizes, he does so with the urgency that comes from understanding that a lost person is destined for hell unless he can persuade him to accept Christ.

We’ll be discussing so-called “eternal security” this week on Up For Debate. To give you some context and understanding of the two different perspectives, I’ve provided this summary below. Hope you join us for the discussion on the Moody Radio Network at 11 a.m. CDT.


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3 thoughts on “Can You Lose Your Salvation? Calvinism vs. Arminianism Explained”

  1. Helpful way to explain differences to people unfamiliar with the disputed. I might elaborate on the atonement issue, though. Both sides believe Jesus “died for all”, because the Bible uses those terms, the question is whether the idea is “all without distinction” or “all without exception”. Additionally, both sides believe in a “limited” atonement; the question is whether it is limited in scope or effectiveness. Both sides acknowledge the atonement is infinite, the debate is over whether it was made effectual for a specific group or if it is a potential open to all, only made effectual if received.

    The issue is quite complex. :)

  2. I am neither a Calvinist nor Arminius. I believe what the Scriptures teaches. Although I completely reject Calvinism, I believe once saved, always saved. The Bible is clear that once a person is born again they are sealed to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said nothing can snatch those who believe on Him from His hands.

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